Criminal

Remand policy

SUPREME COURT

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In Satyajit Ballubhai Desai & Ors vs State Of Gujarat[Decided on 20 July, 2012]

“The grant of order for police remand should be an exception and not a rule and for that the investigating agency is required to make out a strong case and must satisfy the learned Magistrate that without the police custody it would be impossible for the police authorities to undertake further investigation and only in that event police custody would be justified as the authorities specially at the magisterial level would do well to remind themselves that detention in police custody is generally disfavoured by law.

The provisions of law lay down that such detention/police remand can be allowed only in special circumstances granted by a magistrate for reasons judicially scrutinised and for such limited purposes only as the necessities of the case may require. The scheme of Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 is unambiguous in this regard and is intended to protect the accused from the methods which may be adopted by some overzealous and unscrupulous police officers which at times may be at the instance of an interested party also. But it is also equally true that the police custody although is not the be-all and end-all of the whole investigation, yet it is one of its primary requisites particularly in the investigation of serious and heinous crimes. The Legislature also noticed this and, has therefore, permitted limited police custody.

11. It may, therefore, be noted that Article 22 (2) of the Constitution of India and Section 57 of the Cr.P.C. gives a mandate that every person who is arrested and detained in police custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of 24 hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate and no such person can be detained in the police custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate. These two provisions clearly manifest the intention of the law in this regard and therefore it is the magistrate who has to judicially scrutinise circumstances and if satisfied can order detention of the accused in police custody. The resultant position is that the initial period of custody of an arrested person till he is produced before a Magistrate is neither referable to nor in pursuance of an order of remand passed by a Magistrate. In fact, the powers of remand given to a Magistrate becomes exercisable only after an accused is produced before him in terms of sub section (1) of Section 167 Cr.P.C.

12. The Judicial Magistrate thus in the first instance can authorise the detention of the accused in such custody i.e. either police or judicial from time to time but the total period of detention cannot exceed fifteen days in the whole. Within this period of fifteen days there can be more than one order changing the nature of such custody either from police to judicial or vice-versa.

If the arrested accused is produced before the Executive Magistrate he is empowered to authorise the detention in such custody either police or judicial only for a week, in the same manner namely by one or more orders but after one week he should transmit him to the nearest Judicial Magistrate along with the records. When the arrested accused is so transmitted the Judicial Magistrate, for the remaining period, that is to say excluding one week or the number of days of detention ordered by the Executive Magistrate, may authorise further detention within that period of first fifteen days to such custody either police or judicial. After the expiry of first period of fifteen days further remand during the period of investigation can only be in judicial custody. There cannot be any detention in the police custody after the expiry of first fifteen days even in a case where some more offences either serious or otherwise committed by him if the same transaction come at a later stage.

But this bar does not apply if the same arrested accused is involved in a different case arising out of a different transaction.

13. As the legal position noted above have an important bearing in discharge of the day to day magisterial powers contemplated under Section 167 (2) of the Cr.P.C., we considered it appropriate to sum up briefly and reiterate the settled legal position that whenever any person is arrested under Section 57 Cr.P.C., he should be produced before the nearest Magistrate within 24 hours as mentioned therein. Such Magistrate may or may not have jurisdiction to try the case. This position was further enunciated upon in Chaganti Narayan Satyanarayan & Ors Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (1986 AIR 2130) wherein it was held that the terms of sub section (1) of Section 167 have to be read in conjunction with Section 57 which interdicts a police officer from keeping in custody a person without warrant for a longer period than 24 hours without production before a Magistrate, subject to the exception that the time taken for performing journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate’s court can be excluded from the prescribed period of 24 hours. Since sub section (1) provides that if the investigation cannot be completed within the period of 24 hours fixed by Section 57 the accused has to be forwarded to the Magistrate alongwith the entries in the Diary, it follows that a police officer is entitled to keep an arrested person in custody for a maximum period of 24 hours for purposes of investigation. In the landmark judgement of C.B.I. Vs. Anupam J. Kulkarni (1992) 3 SCC 141, it was held that the law does not authorise a police officer to detain an arrested person for more than 24 hours exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the magistrate court. Sub-section (1) of Section 167 covers all this procedure and also lays down that the police officer while forwarding the accused to the nearest magistrate should also transmit a copy of the entries in the diary relating to the case. As already stated herein before, the initial period of police custody of an arrested person till he is produced before a Magistrate is neither referable to nor in pursuance of an order of remand passed by a Magistrate. In fact the powers of remand given to a Magistrate become exercisable only after an accused is produced before him in terms of sub section (1) of Section 167. But there cannot be any detention in the police custody after the expiry of first 15 days even in a case where some more offences either serious or otherwise committed by him if the same transaction comes to light at the later stage.